The opportunities are endless…if you can afford them.

Volunteer at a clinic in Panama this summer!!!…as long as you pay a $1,700 program fee and for a $500 flight to get you there. Gain patient care experience and work at a hospital as a nurse’s assistant this summer!!!…as long as you pay $2,200 to take a class that gets you certified to do so. Get an internship with your favorite non-profit organization this summer!!!… as long you pay $700 a month for your housing. Oh and P.S. the opportunity is unpaid. P.P.S. you’ll still have to pay for your apartment in Ann Arbor since we realtors take pride in giving students the BEST service and deals around. These include strictly offering 12-month lease agreements that we know most of you will be stuck paying for during the four out of twelve months that you won’t be living there.

ASF!*!)#$EOWJOSQ!#$)*WUEOCBV^&#)@>MEFANCV(^$)WK. Yeah.

In class this week we talked about all of the services that the University offers that some of us don’t know about. How about a list of opportunities that allows our résumés to grow without making the burning hole in our pockets (aka our student debt) skyrocket even further than I knew was possible? (No, really – how does a 20 year old spend $20,000+ in one year? Oh you know, just take some English, Biology and Psychology classes and you could find out for yourself!)

Earlier this week I contemplated turning down the experience of a lifetime for one reason and one reason only – expenses.

I turned to almost every resource that I knew of at the University to help make this situation work and after being shifted around departments 10+ times and finding myself at the same place where I started off (minus the 15 hours I could’ve spent studying), I’ve resorted to my dear friend eBay to sell some junk and make it possible to be able to afford to take this opportunity. But I can’t help but to be frustrated, overwhelmed and, quite frankly, PISSED off (excuse my vulgarity) and wonder how many of you have experienced a similar situation? Being financially independent, I’ve had to turn down countless opportunities because they simply weren’t realistic. I’m sure there are resources that the University offers to help out us cliché broke college students to “achieve our dreams” outside of the classroom…but where are they hiding? …are they even out there? If they are, they shouldn’t be this hard to find. 15 hours and a few strands of stress-induced gray hair later and ZILCH. Nada. Nothing. SOS – it’s time for a change.

One thought to “The opportunities are endless…if you can afford them.”

  1. Hey Cortney!

    I completely understand what you’re saying and I could not agree with you more. Michigan praises itself for giving its students so many more opportunities than other colleges and universities, but what’s the point if we can’t afford it? It’s almost more frustrating that these opportunities are so close and so available, but cost is the only thing stopping us from taking advantage of these programs.

    Last semester, I applied to GIEU (a summer global education project) hoping and praying that I would get some kind of financial aid because my parents were not supportive of paying over $3000 to do this kind of thing. Unfortunately, after spending hours applying and filling out the financial aid form, I did not receive a single penny of aid. Normally, I would be fine with this because I know that my family could technically afford this, but I was annoyed that many of my friends got full scholarships for GIEU because they qualified for financial aid to attend this university.

    Now, I completely understand that families deserve aid to help pay for college if they cannot afford it, but I don’t understand why they get an advantage over me for attending this summer trip abroad. It’s not like this trip is required for anyone to graduate from this university, but I am at a disadvantage because technically, my parents can afford it. But the thing is,

    1) they refuse to pay for it, which is understandable.
    2) yes, they have saved enough money to afford it, but they are saving it for my brother’s college expenses.

    It’s almost like my family is being punished for saving their money and spending responsibly for their entire life.

    Fortunately, I decided to still participate in GIEU, but only at the expense of working 3 different jobs this semester so that I can pay for this trip myself. However, my roommate was in a similar position and had to withdraw her application because she simply did not have time to work this semester with her busy school schedule. Why should she have to robbed from this opportunity? It just doesn’t really seem that fair.

    So yes, there may be some resources that this University offers to help broke college students “achieve our dreams”, but from what I’ve experienced, they are only applicable to a small group of people.

    -Shirley

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